Guam at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

April 24, 2008

SUBJECT: Guam Makes Historic Intervention at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Chides the Decolonization Units of the UN for Glaring Non-Performance

Yesterday in New York, Guam made a historic appearance before the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, appealing to the UN body to take the lead on the decolonization process in the non-self-governing territories.

Writer-activist Julian Aguon represented the Chamoru Nation and affiliated indigenous organizations in the Forum’s Seventh Session, held at UN headquarters between April 21 – May 2, 2008. Aguon delivered Guam’s official intervention to the Forum, an advisory body to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, calling global attention to the major deficiencies with the Special Committee on Decolonization and the overall decolonization regime endorsed by the UN.

Addressing some 3,000 indigenous peoples, international organizations, and national governments, Aguon highlighted the blatant failure and non-compliance of the relevant UN and US organs and officials tasked with oversight of the decolonization process in the non-self-governing territories, and called upon the Forum to take the lead on decolonization in the Pacific by sponsoring an expert seminar on the situation of the indigenous peoples of these territories.

Aguon stated:

“The failure of the U.S. to honor its international obligations to Guam and her native people, the non-responsiveness of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization to our rapid deterioration, and the overall non-performance of relevant U.S. and UN Decolonization organs and officials combine to carry our small chance of survival to its final coffin … To date the Forum has deferred to the Special Committee. The time has come for the Forum to take the lead.”

Aguon highlighted that the unilateral, non-transparent U.S. militarization of Guam constitutes a manifold deprivation of human rights of the Chamoru people, which is especially embarrassing as only two years remain of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

Joining Aguon was a delegation from Hawaii including Mililani Trask, a native Hawaiian international human rights attorney and former member of the UN Permanent Forum, who also filed an intervention denouncing the ineffectiveness of the decolonization committee and calling on the Forum to challenge the committee and to advise the General Assembly to look into this issue as the most pressing matter of international human rights law in the region.

Joining Guam and Hawaii was a strong delegation from the Pacific and Caribbean Communities including: Australia, New Zealand, Rapa Nui, Kanaky (New Caledonia), Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, West Papua, Maluku Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Occupied Virgin Islands.

Also signatories to Guam’s intervention were: Society for Threatened Peoples International, the Centre for Organisation Research and Education (CORE), the Western Shoshone Defense Project, Flying Eagle Woman Fund, and Mohawk Nation at Kahmawake, three of which have UN-recognized consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, the UN body with the widest institutional mandate in the entire UN system.

Fore more information, contact: Debbie Quinata at 671-828-2957, Hope Cristobal at 671-649-0097, or Julian Aguon at 808-375-3646

Malia Nobrega


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